Don’t Skimp on Dietitian Coverage

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Three Factors Joint Commission Tracks

By Emily Wetzel, RD, LDN 

If you find yourself in a pinch while your Registered Dietitians are out on summer vacations, Dietitians on Demand can be a great way to fill in those coverage gaps. Many acute care and long term care facilities are now focusing on preventing malnutrition in their patients. Statistics show that 1 out of 3 patients enter a hospital under-nourished. Malnutrition can put patients at an increased risk for complications like infections, muscle loss, longer hospital stays and increased chances of readmission. Dietitians have direct access to improve these patients’ nutrition status and are valuable to patient care.

In addition, all acute care and long term care facilities have some sort of standards they abide by. One large organization that offers these standards is Joint Commission. Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

A few of Joint Commission’s Standards pertaining to nutrition include:

1. Delivering and facilitating clinical care’s glucose targets, and what nutritional assessments are conducted for patients who are not consistently reaching glucose targets.

2. Nutrition and functional screening requirements based on the hospitals organization and policies. Assessment should be completed by a licensed independent practitioner with appropriate clinical privileges.

3. National Patient Safety Goals: two patient identifiers should be applied with offering any nutrition services. This can be limited to but does not have to be; when a patient requires a special diet or meal, and snack is being delivered.

In addition to Joint Commission Standards, there are often individual facility standards. These may include:

1. Daily policy standards for initial nutrition assessments; Who screens patients and what is the time frame a dietitian is required to see a patient who has a positive nutrition referral.

2. Daily policy standards for follow up nutrition assessments: After patients have been initially assessed what is the time frame Dietitians have to follow up on a patients who are at nutrition risk.

3. Keeping doctors and other practitioners informed and up to date on the nutrition status of their patients during daily rounds. Communicating with the kitchen regarding special diets patients may need to be on.

Regardless of your facilities standards and policies, the value of having a Dietitians On Demand dietitian come in and keep your facilities standards up to date can’t be put at a cost. Whether this is filling in for one week or multiple weeks, we want to ensure that your facility continues to have above-and-beyond patient care, and these patients don’t suffer from any nutrition compromise.


Emily Wetzel is a consultant dietitian in Chicago, IL. She has been with Dietitians on Demand since she started her career in 2013.

Emily Wetzel is a consultant dietitian in Chicago, IL. She has been with Dietitians on Demand since she started her career in 2013.

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Learn more about Emily’s career as a consultant dietitian with Dietitians on Demand!

Don’t let your facility suffer the consequences of being without a dietitian, request coverage today!

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